Every time we open our television sets to watch discussions on socio-economic-cum- political issues in Nigeria, the moderator starts by introducing the members of the panel of “Experts”: To my immediate left or right is Professor ABC. Next to him (not gender sensitive) is Doctor EFG, etc. But who is an “Expert”? In my opinion, an expert is anyone with a very deep knowledge of a specific field of endeavor whose opinion(s) and action(s) are faultless or beyond reproach. The knowledge can be acquired through long lengths of experience or training or both. He can be an illiterate herbalist or a medical doctor, a religious leader or civil servant, etc.
I find the use of the word “Expert” by those moderators funny. Why? Most often than not, those seen as “Experts” are just a little better than any brilliant undergraduate student in his penultimate class. A few examples will suffice:
On AIT discussion programme on 2011 presidential election anchored by Mr. Gbenga Aruleba, a professor said that the population of India was 1.5 billion. But that was not true. Perhaps, he wanted to refer to China but his illustrations showed India. He repeated it many times. Therefore, it was not a slip of tongue. He added that the former American President, Mr. George Bush Jnr, borrowed money from the World Bank to prosecute the Iraqi war with the aim of tapping oil to pay back. This statement was also false. Why? The World Bank is a development bank created to nurture economic growth not destructive warfare.
There was another professor of Law interviewed on the “Spectrum” programme of Galaxy television soon after Mr. Jonathan was made an “Acting President” by a resolution of the National Assembly titled the “Doctrine of Necessity”. Ir would be recalled that Mr. Jonathan dissolved the Executive Council of the Federation popularly referred to as the “Cabinet”. When the professor was asked whether the action was constitutional for an “Acting President” to dissolve the cabinet, his reply was “I think so”. He added that the President of the Federation had wide powers. This view has also been supported recently by another professor on AIT programme. He said that the powers of the president were “elastic” like a rubber. Both of these views were wrong. The 1999 Constitution sets the limits to the powers of the “President”. In fact, the “elastic” that the latter professor was referring to has its limits; the “elastic limit” beyond which it will yield or fail.
The President of the Federation has no power under the 1999 Constitution to dissolve the Cabinet or the Executive Council of the Federation. Once appointed, the members can only resign or be referred to the Code of Conduct Bureau for discipline. Our Mr. Obasanjo dissolved and reconstituted the cabinet at will like a military dictator thus setting a wrong precedent. It was unfortunate that Mr. Jonathan took after Mr. Obasanjo on this issue. He too must have been wrongly advised by the false “Experts” who surround him. I shall expatiate on this Constitutional issue in a subsequent article.
I think that I have written on the numerous inadequacies of INEC chairman, Mr. Jega, and his predecessor, Mr. Maurice Iwu. Today, one of them has caused Nigeria to be set ablaze. The mayhem in the North is worrisome. As I write, my in-laws and friends are trapped in Kaduna, Kaduna State. “No going out” except between 3pm to 5pm is the rule, I was told. My children are also in Abuja. I do not know whether Abuja will boil too, God forbids. This is not the Nigeria that I have been dreaming off and pray always with “God bless Nigeria” in every concluding part of my article and or comment.
There was a time when the head of NAFDAC was a professor and Nigerians were told that treated sachet (pure) water would expire after 60 days. This viewpoint was also wrong. I wrote many times Mrs. Dora Akunyili trying to know what would make a treated sachet (pure) water to expire after 60 days. I even copied the then Minister of Education as well as the Director General, Presidential Research and Communications in Abuja. There was no reply. The truth is that the longer water stays after treatment, the purer it becomes unless there is a source of new or post-treatment contamination. Water is one of the very few things created by God that is capable of self purification under quiescent condition, exposure to air and or sunlight. It is for this reason that Colorado River in America which was previously called the red river (due to clay load) could turn bluish after the construction of dams on it.
There was a time when the Nigerian Stock Exchange was headed by a professor. Stocks in Nigeria were falsely valued and advertised. I wrote some articles and comments challenging the adequacy of those high profile stocks with mouth-watering returns (See: Hulking Sizes And Numbers of “Offer For subscription” In Nigeria, Parts 1 & 2, December 27, 2007, www.ngex.com). Today, we know the truth. Those who bought, for instance, a bank stock at N33 per share which today is just about half its original price know better.
At a time another professor headed the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN. He imposed the idea of bank consolidation on the federation. I wrote and posted a typed 23 page document with 46 references to him privately. I showed the errors in the assumptions leading to the theory and how to keep the banks afloat without using the consolidation theory. Up till today, there was no acknowledgment of the document. At a time, I was forced to write an article on the subject (See: Consolidation Theory Explained, Parts 1, 2 & 3, January 2, 2008, www.ngex.com). His successor in office later exposed the various stages of weakness and illiquidity that some (10 out of 24 banks) of the consolidated banks had reached before the professor’s exit. My various articles and comments on this issue was proved right.
At another time, it was a demolition Minister who studied a mere arithmetic of length, breadth and height who became an “Expert”. He demolished buildings without remembering to build. Today a self-contained room apartment in Abuja goes for N200,000 per annum. A 3-bedroom flat goes for N1.0 – N2.5million in the capital. Yet the capital is predominantly a civil servant based city. For the low income earners, they have to run to satellite towns like Yanyan, Gwagwalada, Suleja, etc. The false Expert had no consideration for the human misery created by the demolition but only for the growth of flowers. I can keep naming them, but time will not permit now. The nation is boiling as a result of the various works of our “quasi-technocrats, pseudo-administrators and rote professors”. What is the solution? I shall attempt an answer in a subsequent article.
Do we have those whose decisions are faultless and without any adverse consequences in the polity so far, especially since 1999? I think otherwise. I am sure that Mr. Obasanjo would have regretted toeing the lines of those false “Experts” who were appointed as Advisers, Minister, etc. Mr. Jonathan may have to watch out for what the “Experts” tell him and use the views of his critics to test the adequacy of such views. I stand to be corrected that most of those who are popular on television discussions and are addressed as “Experts” are mere opportunities.
I am angry that our “Experts” have brought woes rather than development to Nigeria. They have caused joblessness, homelessness, desperation, destitution, etc. As usual, I welcome both criticism(s) and comment(s) either openly or privately or both. My email address remains jaomotayo2(at)yahoo.co.uk . However, I like to warn that those criticizing must arm themselves with facts and figures lest they become targets for another round of critical re-evaluation.
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